Semi-Final - Men
Brisbane Capitals (1) v Rockhampton Rockets (5)
Last time they met: Round 14 – Brisbane 106 (Anderson 25) def Rockhampton 95 (Bruce 22)
The top-seeded Capitals cemented a Semi Final berth with a commanding 31-point win over the Logan Thunder. Brisbane took a 1-point lead into the second quarter and put their foot on the gas to outscore the visitors 63-33 throughout the second and third periods. The team welcomed back star point guard Jason Cadee with open arms, and he did not disappoint finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds. His backcourt partner Aaron Anderson stuffed the stat with 20 points, 7 boards and 8 dimes on an efficient 61% clip. Will Magnay recorded 17 points and 9 rebounds in only 23 minutes of playing time due to foul trouble.
The Rockets pulled off the only upset of the Quarter Finals with an 11-point road victory over the Cairns Marlins. With scores tied at quarter and half time, Rockhampton slowly started to pull the game in their favour largely behind the efforts of point guard Shaun Bruce who finished with 35 points. Bruce was able to ice the game for the visitors by connecting on 9/10 free throws inside the dying minutes. The Rockets defense smothered the Marlins, restricting them to only 79 points and 38% from the field. Robateau finished with 20 points, whilst Ogilvy recorded a double-double.
The Rockets will be full of confidence as they enter this contest with 5 straight road victories and their only loss from their past 7 games coming against the Capitals. We are looking forward to the point guard battle between Cadee and Bruce who both feature in the leagues top-10 scorers and top-3 in assists. QBL league leader in blocks, Will Magnay, will have his hands full defending Ogilvy and O’Mara while Robateau and Anderson both have the ability to light it up on the offensive end. Coach McKinnon will have the luxury of relying on his team’s depth and the contribution of his role players compared to a rockets squad that usually only go 7 deep. That might be the difference in this game as the Capitals find away to pull away from the resilient Rockets and book a ticket to the QBL Grand Final.
Prediction: Brisbane by 8 points
Gold Coast Rollers (2) v Townsville Heat (3)
Last time they met: Round 9 – Townsville 111 (Wilcher 33) def Gold Coast 96 (Parker 41)
The Rollers cemented a home Semi Final after an 8-point Quarter Final victory over USC. They battled back from early 11-point deficit in the second quarter to hit the lead by the major break. Despite not leading by more than 10 points at any point of the contest, Gold Coast controlled the second half by not surrendering the lead at any stage. Rhys Martin was the games leading scorer with 25 on 64% shooting and was closely followed by Rose’s 20 and Parker’s 18. Anthony Petrie was a strong contributor off the bench with 12 points and 5 boards in only 22 minutes.
Townsville survived the closest of the Quarter Finals, escaping with a narrow 2-point win over the Mackay Meteors. Josh Wilcher struggled from the floor for majority of the night but was able to score the last 8 points for the Heat (including a last-minute go-ahead floater) to help his team over the line. Jonathon Mines scored 24 points for the home side, while Rees had 12 points and 11 boards on his way to a double-double. Ethan Betts stood up in the absence of Peter Crawford finishing with 11 points in 37 minutes.
Townsville proved too strong for Gold Coast back in round 9 but the make up of their roster has changed drastically since their contest on June 21. The Rollers offense has been on fire over their past five matches scoring 108.2 points per game, compared to the Heat who have only managed 78.5 points in their past two matches since their roster changes. Like the Capitals, Gold Coast have the luxury of extra depth compared to their opponents, which was highlighted in their Quarter Final win with 25 bench points. The Heat proved in their win over Mackay that they have the mental toughness to overcome the absence of their senior players but that might to be too tough of an ask on the road this weekend against the Rollers.
Prediction: Gold Coast by 6 points
Semi-Final - Women
Carina Leagues Club Lady Spartans (1) v Ipswich Force (7)
Last time they met: Round 15 – Southern Districts 86 (Scott 30) def Ipswich 84 (Ralph 28)
The Spartans are one step away from hosting the Grand Final Series after a commanding 85-59 victory over USC in the Quarter Finals. In a repeat of last year’s Semi Final, it will be the Ipswich Force who will be the defending champions’ opponents after they recorded an impressive 5-point win over the Cyclones in Rockhampton.
The Spartans dominated at home last week on the back of performances from Leah Scott who had 22 points & 13 rebounds, Nat Taylor who picked up 19 points off the bench, Odette Isaac who had 16 points and Aja Parham-Ammar who recorded an incredible 9 assists. The Spartans were tested by Ipswich in the final game of the regular season and will be weary of not only Amanda Johnson but Georgia Ralph who picked up 28 points the last time they met.
Ipswich travelled to Rockhampton last weekend and put up one of their best performances of the season holding on for a 5-point win away from home. Johnson was the leading scorer on the night with 25 followed by Ralph with 17 and Lewis and Farley who both scored 15 in a complete team performance from the Force. Their teamwork against the Spartans will be key, as no other team in the league has a greater share of scorers or assists than the 2017 and 2018 QBL champions.
The Force face an almighty task at Rowland Cowan Stadium but will take great confidence going into the showdown after their heroics in Rockhampton last week. The Spartans are still the in-form red-hot team to beat this year and should have just enough to take down Ipswich at home to cement a third-straight Grand Final series.
Prediction: Spartans by 4
Townsville Flames (3) v Gold Coast Rollers (4)
Last time they met: Round 9 – Townsville 73 (Bishop 22) def Gold Coast 58 (Luna-Castro 17)
Townsville will enjoy back-to-back home finals this weekend when they host the exciting Gold Coast Rollers in the second Semi Final.
The Flames controlled their Quarter Final perfectly against Mackay last week with star Abby Bishop again leading the way with 27 at 60% from the field. Alex Fowler was inspirational off the bench showing why she is one of the best young players in the country with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Townsville will enjoy the comfort of home-court advantage against the travelling Rollers, knowing they have the legs to beat the dark horses of the competition.
It’s been an incredible season for the Coast, their best in years and it continued last Saturday with a come from behind victory against local rivals Logan. A late fourth-quarter surge led by Ariana Moorer who had 37 points and 12 rebounds got the Rollers home in front of a massive home crowd. Captain Susannah Walmsley had 16 points, whilst Carleigh Patrick was sensational off the pine with 11 as the Coast edged home.
The Rollers have shocked many this season and will hope that their fairytale 2019 can continue onto a Grand Final Series. The Flames, however, are in sensational form led by Abby Bishop and have the all-important home court advantage. It promises to be a belter up north but expect the experience and solid depth of Townsville to get home in this one.
Prediction: Townsville by 7